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The Psychology of Gay Men’s Cuckolding Fantasies

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Abstract

Cuckolding (also known as troilism) is a sexual interest in which one obtains sexual arousal from the experience of a romantic partner engaging in sexual activity with someone else. The present study investigated fantasies about and experiences with cuckolding in a large and diverse sample of predominately gay-identified men (N = 580). Compared to previous research focusing on heterosexual men’s cuckolding fantasies, our results indicate that gay men’s cuckolding fantasies share many common elements; however, they differ in some important ways. Most notably, interracial and BDSM themes do not appear to be as common in gay men’s cuckolding fantasies as they are among heterosexual men. Our findings also indicate that frequent fantasies about cuckolding are linked to several overlapping sexual interests (e.g., voyeurism, group sex) and, further, the content of these fantasies is associated with a number of individual differences (e.g., agreeableness, sensation seeking, sociosexuality). Finally, this study also suggests that gay men who act on their cuckolding fantasies tend to report positive experiences; however, the likelihood of reporting positive outcomes appears to depend upon one’s personality and attachment style.
ORIGINAL PAPER
The Psychology of Gay Men’s Cuckolding Fantasies
Justin J. Lehmiller
1,2
David Ley
3
Dan Savage
4
Received: 2 March 2017 / Revised: 3 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 October 2017 / Published online: 28 December 2017
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017
Abstract Cuckolding (also known as troilism) is a sexual interest
in which one obtains sexual arousal from the experience of a
romantic partner engaging in sexual activity with someone else.
The presentstudy investigatedfantasies about andexperiences
with cuckolding in a large and diverse sample of predominately
gay-identified men (N=580). Comparedto previous research
focusing on heterosexual men’s cuckolding fantasies, our results
indicate that gay men’s cuckolding fantasies share many com-
mon elements; however, they differ in some important ways.
Most notably, interracial and BDSM themes do not appear to
be as common in gay men’s cuckolding fantasies as they are
among heterosexual men. Our findings also indicate that fre-
quent fantasies about cuckoldingare linked to several overlap-
ping sexual interests (e.g., voyeurism, group sex) and, further, the
content of these fantasies is associated with a number of individ-
ual differences (e.g., agreeableness, sensation seeking, sociosex-
uality). Finally, this study also suggests that gay men who act on
their cuckolding fantasies tend to report positive experiences;
however, the likelihood of re porting positive outcomes appears
to depend upon one’s personality and attachment style.
Keywords Cuckolding Sexual fantasy Gay men
Consensual non-monogamy Troilism DSM-5
Introduction
Troilism is a little studied paraphilia described as the‘‘sharing of a
sexual partner with another person while one looks on, after which
the onlooker may or may not share the sexual partner’’(Smith, 1976,
p. 586).‘Cuckolding’ is the colloquial term for one contem-
porary form of troilism in which a man obtains sexu al arousal
from the sight or experience of his wife or girlfriend engaging
in sexual activity with another man. Whereas the term cuckold
historically referredto a man unknowingly married to an adul-
terous woman, the modern cuckold is aware that his wife is
having sex with other men and offers his consent and encour-
agement. This behavioris not a form of cheating; rather, it is a
variant of consensual non-monogamy (Rubin, Moors, Matsick,
Ziegler, & Conley, 2014). However, the practice and fantasy
of cuckolding are distinct from other forms of consensual non-
monogamy (e.g., swinging, open relationships), as well as the
practice of group sex,due to the cuckold takingon a submissive,
disempowered, and largely voyeuristic role in both the experi-
ence and fantasy. Those other practices tend to involve more
egalitarian sexual interactionsor mutual physical participation
by all parties, even if one partner is the center of attention.
An entire sexualsubculture has emerged that celebratesand
explores cuckolding fantasies. Ley (2009) interviewed dozens
of different-sex married couples that were practicing cuckold-
ing, mostof whom reported that it enhanced theirrelationships.
Ley’s work revealed several distinct characteristics and themes
of this subculture. First, the predominantly White participants
Ley interviewed commonly described the desired third party
in these scenarios—colloquially referred to as the‘bull’’—as
a man who is Black and has a large penis. Thus, these fantasies
often feature an interracial element. The bull’s semen tends to
be emphasized, too: the cuckold may be aroused by having
intercourse with his partner while another man’s semen is inside
her, or he may wish to participate in removal of the bull’s semen
&Justin J. Lehmiller
justin.lehmiller@gmail.com
1
Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and
Counseling, Ball State University, Teacher’s College, Room
605, Muncie, IN 47306, USA
2
The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN,
USA
3
New Mexico Solutions, Albuquerque, NM, USA
4
The Stranger, Seattle, WA, USA
123
Arch Sex Behav (2018) 47:999–1013
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-1096-0
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